Migrants Swamp Shelter, Now Closed ‘Due To Health Issues’

Screenshot, KPBS.org

Migrant shelter that was more than three times over its capacity closed ‘due to health issues’

CNN – A large sports complex that was being used to shelter more than 5,000 migrants in Tijuana has been closed “due to health issues,” according to Mexican officials.

Pictures posted to the Facebook page of the Tijuana mayor’s office showed officials with face masks cordoning off the entrance of the Benito Juarez Sports Complex on Friday.

The complex, which had become Tijuana’s main facility for sheltering migrants trying to reach the US border, was closed “due to the poor sanitary conditions,” a statement from the office of Tijuana’s mayor, Juan Manuel Gastélum read.

CNN crews visiting the complex last week found squalid conditions, including open sewage drains.

Rodolfo Olimpo, a representative from Baja California state’s Special Committee on Migration Issues, told CNN last week the complex was more than three times over its capacity.

Since Thursday, Mexican officials have been transferring migrants from the complex to a new shelter that is further away from the border in the eastern part of the city in an area known as El Barretal.

Most of the migrants staying at the complex had left as of Sunday, but CNN crews there observed several dozen migrants staying in tents outside the gate. Read more. 

San Diego Doctors Volunteer To Treat Migrants In Crowded Tijuana Shelters

KPBS.com – Some San Diego doctors are volunteering to care for migrants at Tijuana’s overflowing shelters, where as many as 6,000 people are living side-by-side in tents and under blankets surrounded by trash and soiled clothing.

Dr. Julie Sierra, an internal medicine physician with UC San Diego Health, volunteers as part of a network of doctors organized by San Diego Border Dreamers.

She said the group is also working closely with a large group of Mexican physicians to treat Central American migrants in Tijuana’s shelters.

She said confining thousands of people together in unsanitary conditions is a public health crisis in the making. The migrants share a handful of toilets and have little access to showers.

“You know, things we worry about are things like infectious diarrhea, anything being passed on from not being able to wash your hands,” Sierra said.

The doctors are treating illnesses such as upper respiratory infections, rashes and gastroenterology problems, including diarrhea, constipation and upset stomachs.

“I saw mostly women and children, actually most of the women I saw were pregnant — 6 to 8 months pregnant. They’ve been traveling in that state and they’re very fatigued and very traumatized quite frankly by the journey and having to flee their homeland,” she said. Read more.

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